Q & A with Nissan on IDS (Intelligent Driving System) Technology

Following my earlier post on the Nissan IDS (Intelligent Driving System), I reached out to Nissan with a few more questions about the technology.  For those of you coming late to the game, Nissan’s IDS is an autonomous driving technology that features an algorithm that learns your driving habits.  As you drive, the algorithm in the car retains the best of your driving habits.  I would imagine “best” means not stomping on the gas when the light turns green, rolling through stop signs, and waiting to engage your turn signal 10 feet before you execute the turn.

When you do engage the car’s self-driving feature, the experience should be familiar–and more trustworthy.  This is an approach that I haven’t heard from other automakers.  It is an innovation that I feel could be revolutionary in helping drive acceptance of self-driving cars. For a little more on IDS and how Nissan sees the technology integrating itself into our daily routine, check the video below.



I put an email out to Nissan with a few questions on IDS, followed by their answers:

HECN:  To me, the idea that a car learns driving habits of the owner and mimics them in autonomous mode is brilliant.  It ensures a consistent driving experience, no matter the IDS driving mode.  What was the philosophy that guided the technology decision to go with an algorithm that learns and then mimics driving habits?

Autonomous driving (AD) technology will help minimize driver error–which can account for up to 90 percent of traffic fatalities–by helping to improve the driver’s ability to see, think and react to situations on the road. Cars with AD technology have a suite of applications to enable the driver to operate for periods of time without touching the steering wheel or looking at the road. We’re continuously working to identify opportunities to develop AD technology to meet drivers’ needs. For example, parking assist, highway lane-change assist and city-driving assist are a few applications on the horizon.

Nissan, along with Renault, will launch AD technologies in more than 10 models between now and 2020. Additionally, Nissan will be rolling out a series of AD technologies starting later this year.

The year 2016 will mark the debut of vehicles with single-lane control, a feature that allows cars to drive autonomously on highways, including in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. In 2018, Renault-Nissan will launch vehicles with multiple-lane control, which can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving. And 2020 will see the launch of intersection autonomy, which can navigate city intersections and heavy urban traffic without driver intervention.

Not really an answer to the question as stated, but hey.

HECN: The Intention Indicator (an outward facing signboard that tells pedestrians and other motorists what the car is intending to do–turn, stop, etc) is an innovation that could be invaluable in any vehicle. I understand Nissan is already underway rolling out autonomous tech across the line. I see tech like the Intention Indicator as parallel but separate from autonomous systems.  What is the plan to integrate elements or all of Intention Indicator technology to other Alliance vehicles?  Is there a timeline?

Nissan Intention Indicator. Image courtesy of Nissan Motors.

Nissan Intention Indicator. Image courtesy of Nissan Motors.

 

Nissan: With the convergence of our R&D and engineering departments in April 2014, all of our “upstream” technologies including those related to AD and connectivity are considered part of the “Alliance tool kit” of technologies. This means that Renault and Nissan brands can “pick and choose” from hardware and software that is jointly developed, depending on the brand and model. This does not mean that all technologies will appear on all cars across the Alliance – far from it. But it means that all technologies are available to the companies if it suits the price points and brand profile of cars in their lineup.

The thing I really like about this tech, as a driver in a busy and semi-rude city like Chicago, is that a short and quick message can catch my attention.  An “After You” or similar message for a pedestrian or other driver could really make a difference in those little situations that sometimes become a full blown accident.

HECN: Tell me more about some of the Smart Home and day planning technology on display in your “Together We Ride” videos.  Do you envision this being proprietary to the Alliance alone, or open API for other companies and developers to innovate with?

Nissan: We are not able to share any additional details on these projects at this time.

That answer was anticipated.  But if you watched the video, it’s easy to see how Nissan believes that a smart home should integrate the car as easily as it integrates TV, lighting, drapes, desktop, and social media messaging.  If this tech comes out as proprietary, then it could wither.  But if it is open source, secure, and done well, this could again be a game-changer.

HECN: How is the Alliance addressing data security, for the individual vehicle as well as for drivers and passengers?

Nissan: Nissan Group takes issues of consumer confidence seriously. We will continue to work collaboratively with the USDOT, NHTSA and cybersecurity associations to ensure we take all available actions to reduce the exposure of our vehicles to potential cyberattacks.

Another anticipated answer.  But back in 2014 Nissan joined BMW, FCA, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai-Kia, Volvo and other major carmakers in an effort to establish a common protocol for data sharing and customer data security. The initiative was in reaction to a Congressional inquiry into automotive and customer data security, and provides a way for the automakers to get ahead of the issue without government interference.

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Sebastian James

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